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We talk about clean, sustainable food but what about clean, sustainable medicine?
We're following medicinal plants through the supply chain of the botanical industry.
We're following medicinal plants through the supply chain of the botanical industry.
974 backers pledged $65,392 to help bring this project to life.

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The Sustainable Herbs Project

$65,392

974

"With genuine concern about medicinal plants and the people who make their livelihoods from wild harvesting or farming them in rural areas around the world, Ann Armbrecht wonders how this could be done more equitably and sustainably in the future. So do I. Please consider making a kickstart pledge as a way to help build greater awareness and positive change for the planet and for plant medicine."  

          - Josef Brinckmann, VP of Sustainability, Traditional Medicinals

As an herbalist, have you ever felt uneasy about where the plants used in your remedies are from? As a consumer, have you ever wondered if you can trust the label on the bottle of supplements or tinctures on the grocery store shelf? And have you found yourself reaching for the cheaper bottle, doubting those extra dollars really make of a difference?

I’ve wondered all of these things for years and that’s why I launched the Sustainable Herbs Project.

WHAT IT IS:

The Sustainable Herbs Project is a new project by the producers of the award winning documentary, Numen: the Nature of Plants, the first feature length film on the healing power of plants. We are creating an interactive documentary following medicinal plants through the supply chain to provide you with the information needed to feel more confident about the herbal remedies you purchase. With stories, videos, and facts, we’ll bring the supply chain to life with interviews with men and women involved in all aspects of the industry.

Our vision is to use this site to launch a more educated and responsible consumer movement supporting high quality herbal remedies and sustainable and ethical sourcing. We want this interactive multi-media website  to be available for free and so we have launched this Kickstarter Campaign to cover our costs up front. Proceeds will go to the design and development of the website/interactive documentary and to birthing an organization to carry on this work. 

Reach Goals ~ Help us Reach $65,000!

China is a key and questionable source of so many herbs in the industry and being able to include research and footage from cultivation/collecting sites and processing centers in China would make this project even more comprehensive. If we raise $65,000 we can add a research/filming trip to China. The budget for our $54,000 goal is lean. Having a bit of padding will allow us to be more flexible and take advantage of opportunities as they arise...

We are confident we can reach this goal, but we need your help to do so! 

Consider what it is worth to feel secure that the plants in your medicinal tea and herbal remedy have been sourced responsibly and that the remedies actually are what the labels claim them to be. And then contribute what you can!

And then share this project with friends!

Important questions on wild-collected plants: Were they correctly identified and harvested at the right time? Were they over-harvested? Were they collected from a clean place, away from roads and industrial run off?
Important questions on wild-collected plants: Were they correctly identified and harvested at the right time? Were they over-harvested? Were they collected from a clean place, away from roads and industrial run off?

The Sustainable Herbs Project (SHP) will provide the resources you need to find companies who really are doing the hard work of building sustainability into their supply chain and to encourage the industry as a whole to adopt better practices. Modeled on new, cutting edge interactive documentaries, we will create a user-friendly multi-media site that is educational, inspiring, and fun!

The SHP site will include:

  • FACTS: A general overview of the botanical industry, tracing and mapping the different supply chains of key products such as essential oils, medicinal tea, liquid extracts, super critical extracts, etc.
  • STORIES: Video interviews and photographs following medicinal plants from different regions of the world through their supply chains, bringing the journeys these plants make alive through the voices of individuals we do not typically see when we reach for a herbal remedy on the shelf or order bulk herbs online.
  • ACTION: An outline of challenges to quality, sustainability and equity in different supply chains; action steps consumers can take to support responsible sourcing; best practices for companies wanting to improve their sourcing and processing.
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT: We are forming an advisory group to guide the development of the project and website and to help develop our long-term strategy. This will either include maintaining the Sustainable Herbs Project as a separate organization/project or partnering with an herb school that includes an educational track on the herb industry and herbal medicine-making.
Additional questions include were workers paid a fair wage and on time? How are plants dried and stored?
Additional questions include were workers paid a fair wage and on time? How are plants dried and stored?

Please make this vision a reality!

Your contribution will help cover:

  • Three Research trips to Eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland, Serbia), India, North Carolina, and Oregon to film and interview wild collectors, processors, and finished-product manufacturers. We selected these regions because they are important sources of medicinal plants for the international market and represent different issues in the industry.
  • Staff time to conduct and compile the research, edit video footage, and prepare written material for the website.
  • Creation of the interactive documentary.
  • Development and launch of the Sustainable Herbs Project website.
  • Seed money to cover staff costs to keep the project updated.
  • 8-10% covers Kickstarter and Amazon costs.

Reach Goals ~ Help us Reach $65,000!

  • China is a key and questionable source of so many herbs in the industry and being able to include research and footage from cultivation/collecting sites and processing centers in China would make this project even more comprehensive. If we raise $65,000 we can add a research/filming trip to China.
  • The budget for our $54,000 goal is lean. Having a bit of padding will allow us to be more flexible and take advantage of opportunities as they arise...

Please contribute what you can!

Processing facility in Poland.
Processing facility in Poland.

WHO WE ARE:

Project Director: Ann Armbrecht, PhD is a Harvard-trained anthropologist, author, herbalist and mother. She will oversee the overall production, research and writing for SHP. She is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary Numen: the Nature of Plants, and has directed the community engagement campaign for the film. She wrote the ethnographic memoir Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home, and has studied herbal medicine with Rosemary Gladstar, Caroline Gagnon among others.

Filmmaker: Terrence Youk, director and co-producer of Numen, is responsible for filming and editing video footage. He has produced nationally acclaimed programs for PBS, A&E and the Wisdom Channel as well as educational and presentation films crafted for nonprofit institutions including the National Hospice Foundation. Award-winning films include: Thich Nhat Hanh: Roots of Peace and Pioneers of Hospice: Changing the Face of Dying.

PARTNERS:

Though the SHP focuses on herbs traded in the international market, we strongly believe that the best medicine is medicine we make ourselves with plants we grow or that are grown by people we know.  And so we are partnering with herbalists and organizations for our Kickstarter reward programs to offer a variety of books, recordings, and courses aimed at furthering your education practically and immediately. We are honored to be working with the extraordinary individuals, schools and organizations—all leaders in their field—who are offering their support. We invite you to visit their sites to learn more about the important work they are doing as well as what they offer through their courses and books.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Make a pledge. Right now. On Kickstarter. Your support, no matter how small (or large), makes a BIG difference to us. Please check out the donation tiers on the right to find the level and award that’s right for you. 
  • Please spread the word! Tell your friends, your family, your social networks. Without grassroots support our project will not be possible. Send a link of this page with a heartfelt endorsement to everyone you know, and encourage people to donate. You can also share us on Facebook, Twitter, by email, or via blog post.   
  • Join our mailing list to follow our progress!
  • Contact us with other ideas for how we can raise funds. We’re happy to do interviews, write blog posts, etc.

Thank you so much for your support!

Photo by Larken Bunce
Photo by Larken Bunce

AWARDS!

Although the Sustainable Herbs Project is focusing on herbs traded in the international market – I strongly believe that the best medicine is medicine we make ourselves with plants we grow or that are grown by people we know. And so for the rewards for the Kickstarter, I wanted to offer educational opportunities rather than products. I am so deeply grateful for all of the herbalists who so generously contributed to this campaign and for their incredible support. In addition to visiting our Kickstarter page, please visit their sites, take a look at their programs and courses and share their important work with others.

Everyone contributing any amount will be listed on our site as a contributor!

Our featured award:

Rosemary's Remedies: A Video Series
Rosemary's Remedies: A Video Series
LearningHerbs.com has generously re-released 10 subscriptions to Rosemary’s Remedies ~ a Video Series of Rosemary Gladstar’s Home Herbal Remedies (no longer available to the public!). This is an incredibly thorough series of videos of Rosemary preparing many simple remedies you can easily make in your own kitchen. Everything from cough syrup to fire cider to teas and tinctures. This is a chance to learn from the best AND support a movement to create more sustainable sourcing of medicinal plants! 

And other fantastic awards! Act quickly before they are gone!

NOTE: Additional awards have been added during the campaign, it is hard for me to keep up with including them all here. Most accurate list is on the right hand column. Thanks for your understanding as I try to juggle a lot of moving parts! 

Recently Added:

  • United Plant Savers, individual membership. UpS is the premier organization protecting native medicinal plants in the US and Canada.
  • Foundations of Herbalism Course by Vintage Remedies: Fantastic online program teaching how to managed your family's health concerns with herbal remedies and preparations made at home.
  • Infused Calendula Oil: 1 30 ml bottle of Calendula In Macadamia Oil infusion by the Calendula Girls in Australia. Ann and Kirsty contacted me during the campaign to offer this oil as an award. Their generosity of spirit embodies why I'm doing this project: that plants are more than commodities. And so I am making an exception to my decision not to include products!
  • Join an exclusive webinar with the Sustainable Herbs Team as they share stories, images and video clips from the field. A unique opportunity to hear first hand the results of their research, to ask questions, and to offer input! Hosted by Evolver.Net
  • "Eat Your Weeds" Herbal Revolution T-shirt. Any color. Women's Scoop (2 of each size, 8 total), Men's (3 xs, 3 s) SEND A MESSAGE FIRST TO MAKE SURE YOUR SIZE IS AVAILABLE. Comes with an Eat Your Weeds Sticker!
  • Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender's beautiful book (printed with funds from a wildly successful Kicskstarter!) Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (F&F). 

Some fantastic on-line courses, movies, e-books and more!

  • Florida School of Holistic Studies: Roots of Herbalism home study course (on-line). Check out the great videos and introduction to the class here (one spot only, act quickly!).
  • Juliet Blankespoor, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine: We are thrilled to be able to offer a spot in the new online course Juliet is lovingly creating (and documenting on Facebook and Instagram): Cultivating Medicinal Herbs (available Fall 2015). This is our top award ~ and we are offering at a reduced rate so act quickly if you are interested! 
  • BackCountry Recordings: your pick of 1 single MP3 recording from a wide selection of lectures by leading herbalists; 1 full set of your choice of MP3 recordings. 
  • Our Common Roots: Unveiling our Global Traditions of Healing with Plants, a film by Glenn Axford and Marjolaine Forest-Axford (digital download).
  • Rosalee de la Forȇt: Cold and Flu for Children, an e-book. 
A page from Juliet Blankenspoor's beautiful Blog: Blog Castanea
A page from Juliet Blankenspoor's beautiful Blog: Blog Castanea
photo by Larken Bunce
photo by Larken Bunce

Risks and challenges

We have completed long term complex projects in the past and we are confident in our ability to complete the project we have described.

That said, things come up: Life, sickness, technical challenges.

We've faced these all before and still finished the work we set out to complete. And once again, we will do everything in our power to complete the project as outlined.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Shout out on social media! Listed on our site as a contributor! Our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Free 48-hour digital rental of Numen: the Nature of Plants, the first feature-length documentary on traditional herbal medicine. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Your pick of 1 single MP3 recording from Backcountry Recording which includes a wide choice of lectures by leading herbalists. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Screen Saver and/or Tablet/Desktop Screensaver! Your pick of a collage of one of Larken' Bunce's beautiful collection of flowers (see update #13 to see the selection or go to this link: http://www.larkenbunce.com/2015/02/sustainable-herbs-project-rewards/).

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    Online viewing of Our Common Roots: Unveiling our Global Traditions of Healing with Plants, a film by Glenn Axford and Marjolaine Forest-Axford. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Join an exclusive webinar with the Sustainable Herbs Team as they share stories, images and video clips from the field. A unique opportunity to hear first hand the results of their research, to ask questions, and to offer input! Hosted by Evolver.Net

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    Rosalee de la Forȇt's Cold and Flu for Children e-book. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    "Practical Herbs" a wonderfully practical book on medicinal plants and their various uses by Henriette Kress, PDF. Vol 1: 150 full-color pages with 150 photos.

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    "Practical Herbs" a wonderfully practical book on medicinal plants and their various uses by Henriette Kress, PDF. Vol. 2: 164 full-color pages with 160+ photos.

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    Jim McDonald's a one hour class/lecture "Constipation Energetics."

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    COMBINE: Join an exclusive webinar with the Sustainable Herbs Team as they share stories, images and video clips from the field. A unique opportunity to hear first hand the results of their research, to ask questions, and to offer input! Hosted by Evolver.Net PLUS Free 48-hour digital rental of Numen: the Nature of Plants, the first feature-length documentary on traditional herbal medicine.

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    1 DVD copy of Numen: the Nature of Plants, the first feature length documentary on traditional herbal medicine and the healing power of plants. Free shipping to US only. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Juliet Blankenspoor's e-book "Cultivating Medicinal Herbs." Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

    NOTE: this won't be available until Fall 2015

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    1 year subscription to The Essential Herbal, one of the most popular herb magazines out there. 6 issues/year, international subscriptions come as a PDF. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    1 year subscription to The Essential Herbal, one of the most popular herb magazines out there. 6 issues/year, PDF version. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Your pick of ONE of Rosemary Gladstar's mini-series. Select from: Herbs for Long-Lasting Health, Herbs for Stress and Anxiety, Herbs for Common Ailments, Herbs for Natural Beauty, Herbs for Children's Health OR Herbs for Men's Health. Send a message stating your selection. Listed as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Juliette of the Herbs: the beautiful documentary about Juliette de Bairacli Levy, herbalist, author, traveler and pioneer of holistic veterinary medicine. Plus our thanks and listed as a contributor!

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    The Music of the Plants by Esperide Ananas (book). Discusses research into plant intelligence, plant sensitivity and the willingness of plants to communicate with us. Plus listed as contributor and our gratitude!

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    Paul Bergner's E-book: "Folk Remedies Database: Traditional Treatments for Medical Ailments from more than Twenty-five Cultures." 253 Pages. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Paul Bergner. E-book. "The Healing Power of Minerals and Trace Elements." Abridged version, 2014. 150 pages. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Home Screening License for Numen: the Nature of Plants. Includes 1 DVD. Free shipping in US. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    1 30 ml bottle of Calendula In Macadamia Oil infusion by the Calendula Girls, Australia. Ann and Kirsty contacted me during the campaign to offer this oil as an award. Their generosity of spirit embodies why I'm doing this project: that plants are more than commodities. And so I am making an exception to my decision not to include products.

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    1 United Plant Savers individual membership! Join the premier medicinal plant conservation organization in the US! Includes Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation, seed saving program and more.

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    One year subscription to Herbal Root Zine for Kids! An awesome online (PDF) Zine by Kristine Brown that is perfect for teaching children about herbs. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Green Relations...Herbal Allies for the Heart, Mind & Spirit with Sean Donahue and Jim McDonald, 3 hours of class recordings (will be sent as vimeo file w/recording). Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Weekend Pass to Herbstalk to attend ALL non-intensive classes and plant walks
    June 6 & 7, 2015 from 9am - 6pm at The Amory, Somerville, MA
    30+ indoor and outdoor classes for all levels of herbal enthusiasts!

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    Your pick of TWO of Rosemary Gladstar's mini-series (books). Select from: Herbs for Long-Lasting Health, Herbs for Stress and Anxiety, Herbs for Common Ailments, Herbs for Natural Beauty, Herbs for Children's Health OR Herbs for Men's Health. Send a message to me via KS stating your selection!

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    Membership Subscription in the Herbarium, a botanical on-line reference site offered by Herbal Academy of New England. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Herbs, Vitalism and Holistic Immunity by Jim McDonald, 4 hours of class recordings (will be sent as vimeo file w/recording) and over 30 pages of class notes/written materials to support the recording. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    COMBINE! Rosalee de la Forȇt's Cold and Flu for Children e-book and 1 Numen: the Nature of Plants DVD!

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    COMBINE: 1 set of 5 Plant ID/Recipe Note cards by Botanical Arts Press plus 1 DVD: Numen: the Nature of Plants.

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    Signed copy of Rosemary Gladstar's "Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use." Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Deb Soule's book, "How to Move Like a Gardener." Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Guido Masé's book "The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter and Tonic Plants." Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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    Mel and Jeff Carpenter's new book, "The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale." Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude! (Later delivery date is because that is when the book will be released).

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    Nick Neddo's book "The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints and More from Nature."

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    Tina Sams's new book "Healing Herbs
    A Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants / More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants"

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    "Eat Your Weeds" Herbal Revolution T-shirt. Any color. Women's Scoop (2 of each size, 8 total), Men's (3 xs, 3 s) SEND A MESSAGE FIRST TO MAKE SURE YOUR SIZE IS AVAILABLE. Comes with an Eat Your Weeds Sticker!

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    Pam Montgomery's book, "Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness." Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    COMBINE your awards! 1 Numen DVD plus your pick of ONE of Rosemary Gladstar's mini-series. Select from: Herbs for Long-Lasting Health, Herbs for Stress and Anxiety, Herbs for Common Ailments, Herbs for Natural Beauty, Herbs for Children's Health OR Herbs for Men's Health. Send a message stating your selection.

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    COMBINE! Paul Bergner's E-book: "Folk Remedies Database: Traditional Treatments for Medical Ailments from more than Twenty-five Cultures." 253 Pages. AND 1 year subscription to The Essential Herbal, one of the most popular herb magazines out there. 6 issues/year, PDF version.

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    Drugs in Pots: Over 40 home-made remedies for everyday ailments. Book by Anne McIntyre. Home healing doesn’t have to be about expensive ingredients. Make the most of your windowsill, balcony or patio and grow all the herbs you need to make 40 essential natural remedies to treat a variety of common problems.

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    Healing Drinks. Book by Anne McIntyre. This stunningly beautiful volume provides numerous recipes for healthy drinks, juices, teas, soups and smoothies, with fascinating and informative descriptions of the healing benefits of their ingredients, which include herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables.

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    Community Screening License of Numen: the Nature of Plants, unlimited screenings. Includes 1 DVD. Free shipping in US. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Sam Coffman's book, The Herbal Medic, Vol.1 (black and white pictures). Covers practical herbal medicine and field first aid, including planning and facilitating a post-disaster, herbal clinic in your neighborhood. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    COMBINE books and DVD! Your pick of TWO of Rosemary Gladstar's mini-series (books). Select from: Herbs for Long-Lasting Health, Herbs for Stress and Anxiety, Herbs for Common Ailments, Herbs for Natural Beauty, Herbs for Children's Health OR Herbs for Men's Health. Send a message to me via KS stating your selection! Plus ONE Numen DVD!

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  47. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    COMBINE: Paul Bergner's E-book: "Folk Remedies Database: Traditional Treatments for Medical Ailments from more than Twenty-five Cultures." 253 Pages. AND1 year subscription to The Essential Herbal, one of the most popular herb magazines out there. 6 issues/year, PDF version.

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  48. Select this reward

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    COMBINE: Rosemary Gladstar's "Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use." Plus 1 DVD of Numen: the Nature of Plants.

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    Signed edition of Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender's beautiful book (printed with funds from a wildly successful Kicskstarter!) Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (F&F). Plus listed on site as contributor and our deep gratitude.

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  50. Select this reward

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    Membership Subscription in the Herbarium, a botanical on-line reference site offered by Herbal Academy of New England. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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  51. Select this reward

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    Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender's beautiful book (printed with funds from a wildly successful Kicskstarter!) Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (F&F). Plus listed on site as contributor and our deep gratitude.

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    Mel and Jeff Carpenter's new book, "The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale." Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude! (Later delivery date is because that is when the book will be released).

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    Custom Aromatherapy Blending Session (1/2 hour) and Sacred Perfume (value $120) from Blackbird's Daughter Botanicals.

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    Botanical Drawing: A Beginner's Guide by Wendy Hollender. A workbook of 26 lessons by the illustrator of Feasting and Foraging, by Dina Falconi.

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    TerraVita Herbal Symposium in Laguna Beach, CA: Reconnect with your Roots in Plant Medicine. The symposium features workshops, plant walks, music, nature and a marketplace on herbal medicine. SAVE $15 on admission. Feb 28 and March 1, 2015.

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  56. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    COMBINE: Membership Subscription in the Herbarium, a botanical on-line reference site offered by Herbal Academy of New England AND1 year subscription to The Essential Herbal, one of the most popular herb magazines out there. 6 issues/year, PDF version.

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  57. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    COMBINE: Mel and Jeff Carpenter's new book, "The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale."AND 1 year subscription to The Essential Herbal, one of the most popular herb magazines out there. 6 issues/year, PDF version.

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  58. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    COMBINE: Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender's beautiful book (printed with funds from a wildly successful Kicskstarter!) Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (F&F) AND 1 year subscription to The Essential Herbal, one of the most popular herb magazines out there. 6 issues/year, PDF version.

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  59. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    COMBINE: Dina Falconi and Wendy Hollender's beautiful book (printed with funds from a wildly successful Kicskstarter!) Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (F&F) plus 1 Numen DVD.

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  60. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    COMBINE: Mel and Jeff Carpenter's new book, "The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale."AND 1 Numen DVD.

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    American Herbalist Guild membership, includes subscription to the Journal of the American Herbalist Guild. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Public Screening license of Numen includes 5 DVDs and rights for unlimited public screenings. Free US shipping. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    One 10 year compilation of The Essential Herbal magazine that includes 3 books - Under the Sun, By the Hearth, and Through the Seasons. International orders will be as PDF. Plus listed on our site as a contributor and our heartfelt gratitude!

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer